Systemic Thinking Is the Method Used to Research Paper

Excerpt from Research Paper :

Systemic thinking is the method used to deal with the complex problems and it is used to understand the relationships and pattern within the components of network of relationship. Traditionally, linear relationship focuses on the cause and effect where people view everything in a straight line. However, with interrelationship of dynamic organization and society, linear relationship is inadequate to address the societal and organizational complex problem and linear relationship is inadequate to capture the complex multifaceted relationships. (Senge et al. 1994). Based on the shortcomings of linear relationship, the system thinking has been developed to address the complex problem. The causal loop diagram based on the systemic thinking approach is being developed to capture the multifaceted complex problem and is able to provide complete understanding to the problem. (Dyehouse, Bennett, Harbor et al. 2009).

The objective of this assignment is to explore the strategy the feedback loops could be used to enhance the critical performances and success of Skype organization.

Overview of the Causal Loop

Causal loop explains the causal and effect within the different components. The causal loop shows that the effects of the last elements are used to influence the input of the first element causing relationship to the whole system. CLDs (Causal loop diagrams) are the system thinking that shows that one variable affects another. As being revealed in Fig 1, each arrow within the causal loop diagram connects variables to one another. The causal loop diagram in Fig 1 consists of arrows labeled with an "s" or an "o."

Fig 1: Causal Loop Diagram

The "S" indicates that when the first variable changes, the second variable will change in the same direction. For example, if individual anxiety at work goes up, the number of mistakes that the person would make will go up too. However, "O" shows that the first variables make the second variable to change in the opposite direction. For example, more relaxation exercises cause a person to be less stressful. The arrow in the causal loop diagram comes together to form a loop where each loop is labeled "R" or a "B" where "R" means reinforcing. The reinforcing shows that the causal relationship within the loop causes the exponential collapse or growth. For example, the more anxious a person is at work, the more mistakes the person is likely to make. However, "B" means balancing that shows that causal influence within the loop makes individual arriving at equilibrium. For example, if an individual is more stressful and be able to do relaxation exercises, the action make the stress level goes down.

Roberts et al. (1983) also develops causal loop concept by analyzing hypothetical variables A, B and C. And providing the following assumption: Variable A has an increasing effect on Variable B. while Variable B. has a decreasing effect on Variable C. However, Variable C. has an increasing effect on A.

Table 1: Symbol of Causal Loops Concept

Same direction


Positive relation

Opposite direction


Negative relation

Fig 2: Causal Loop Diagram




The Table 1 reveals the symbol of causal loop concept showing that increase in variable A causes an increase in Variable B. (?

). Since the arrows move in the same direction, there exists a positive relationship (+). The relation is also positive if variables A and Variable B. are decreasing in the same direction (?

). On the other hand, if B. increases and C. decreases, (?

), the relationship is negative (-) or opposite. Thus, the Variable C. is the feedback on Variable A, and having a negative impact on Variable A. Thus, the relationship between Variable C. And Variable A is negative (-) because decrease in Variable C. causes Variable A to increase (

The causal loop is a critical tool to enhance greater understanding on the effect of organizational on employee performances. Based on the system thinking theory, an organization that implements organization learning for employee is providing skills and tool to enhance employee performances as well as assisting employee to observe patterns of behavior as employee see it. Employee could learn from one another, which shows that cooperation among employee could enhance organizational performances.

The reinforcing loop reveals that the interaction of each action adds to other action and an action, which promotes more of the same action, is reinforcing loop.

Fig 3: Reinforcing Loop

As being revealed in Fig 3, there is an interaction of the interest rate with the principal in the savings account, where the interest is being added to the principal each month as reinforcing action. On the other hand, a balancing loop attempts to bring two actions into agreement, where one action attempts to solve a problem to achieve objective of a balancing loop. For example, an organization needs to develop employee skills to solve complex problem within an organization.

The theory of organizational learning is critical to establish the importance of learning within an organization.

2: Theory of Organizational Learning

"A learning organization is an organization skilled at creating, acquiring, and transferring knowledge, and at modifying its behavior to reflect new knowledge and insights." (Garvin, 1993 P. 80). The theory of organizational learning states that an organization must devise a goal to enhance knowledge improvement within an organization. Typically, organizational learning theory attempts to understand the process that leads to changes in organizational knowledge and organizational learning draws its appeal from presumption that learning enhances intelligence behavior and is a tool that enhances intelligence behavior among employees. Schulz (2001) argues that organization learning facilitates and enhances direct changes that could improve organizational knowledge. Thus, the theory of organizational learning could assist Skype organization to develop a strategy to increase sales. Using single loop learning, organization could correct error by using feedback loop to modify unexpected result. For example, when there is a decline in sales, a marketing manager could inquire for the cause and devise a strategy to bring sales on track. Moreover, the organization could use the double loop learning to change the theory-in-use in order to create more efficient environment. For example, the organization could reorganize the entire sales or marketing process to prevent fluctuation in the sales in the future. While Skype has already generated organizational learning, there is still a way that the company could employ to improve learning activities within the organization.

Identification of the Learning Activities that Skype already taken

Skype has already implemented learning activities to enhance organizational efficiency. For example, the company has implemented reinforcing feedback loop to enhance positive changes within the system. Typically, reinforce feedback is the method by which the organization induces changes in a part of the business process to augment changes in another business process.

Typically, Skype uses the reinforce feedback loop to influence the organization positively. By using the positive feedback loops, the organization has been able to anticipate customer views and proactively work on them to develop long-term organizational effectiveness. Moreover, Skype has implemented a feedback loop to give continuous information about the system. The company uses training to enhance feedback loop in order to establish knowledge as well as enhancing standard operating procedures within the organization.

Identification of Opportunities for organizational learning in each Feedback Loop

"Organizational learning draws much of its appeal from the presumption that organizations are capable of intelligent behavior, and that learning is a tool for intelligence, though sometimes an intriguingly unreliable one." (Schulz, 2001, P 1).

Argyris (1992) identifies two types of organizational learning within the feedback loop. They are:

Organizational Single loop learning

Organizational Double loop learning

Organizational single loop learning is the process of correcting the mismatch within the organization in order to correct an action. On the other hand, organizational double loop learning is the process of correcting the mismatch by first examining the issues and alters the governing variable to correct the action. To enhance organizational performances, the feedback loop must be integrated in the organizational learning to create desire results. The important of feedback loop is the ability to recognize the new and potential knowledge within an organization to enhance organizational performances. For example, reinforcing loop is one of the critical tools that could provide opportunity for the organization. Reinforcing loop could be used to encourage learning within the organization. An organization could provide rewards such as promotion or increase bonus for high performing employee to improve organizational performances. Moreover, the balancing loop could be used to form team building with an organization to enhance organizational learning. The team building is the process of developing the capacity of a team to build a shared vision. The team building could enhance personal mastery of talented individual.

Component of team learning involves forming group within an organization where the group regard one another as colleague until team are able to develop skills and personal mastery. Sengel (1990) argues that personal mastery is one of the core disciplines to build a learning organization and personal mastery always applies to organizational learning and it is impossible for organization to learn until member of the…

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